A TOWN centre business owner who placed a knife amnesty bin outside his shop is asking for the public’s help to raise funds for more following three fatal stabbings in Barnsley in the last 18 months.
Mitchell Cavill is the owner of Vape Store and Bargains Galore on Regent Street South and for the last three years has had a weapons amnesty bin inside his shop.
A number of people would occasionally drop off knives inside to Mitchell but since the arrival of his new bin - delivered to him by campaigner and author Ant Olaseinde, who strives to stop knife crime - he has seen blades longer than ten inches, as well as butchers’ cleavers and serrated knives.
The bin was placed outside his shop to help combat ‘scary’ rates of crime - and Mitchell has said he’s seen first-hand people ‘pulling knives on each other’ outside of his shop.
He said: “We’re getting around five to 20 blades put in the bin every week and that’s just one bin in the town - we’ve had more than 140 since it was first put out.
“People aren’t going to walk from Athersley or Monk Bretton into town just to drop a knife off and that’s why I’m wanting to put a bin in every village.
“I’ve been asking for funding for months but nothing has come of it and no one is getting back to me so I’m going to try and do it myself.
“This week I will match whatever money goes into the amnesty bin and hopefully we’ll be able to buy some new bins which costs about £600.
“I don’t like taking people’s money but I just want to keep people safe across Barnsley.
“At the minute people from those areas outside of Barnsley are just going to be dumping the knives in rivers and we’ve got a fishing team set up to get those knives - it’s all about keeping people safe.
“I don’t want my kids to grow up in a place where they’re worried about walking the streets.
“I see what’s happening day in day out and we’ve even had people pulling knives on each other outside the shop.”
It’s been a common theme in Barnsley over the past 18 months as three people have died as a result of being stabbed.
On June 26 last year 43-year-old Stephen Riley was stabbed twice by 38-year-old Martin Wilson - who received a life sentence - and died shortly after at Barnsley Hospital in the early hours of the following day.
Eleven months later and 61-year-old Agita Geslere was stabbed to death on May 5 at her home on Brierfield Close - a post-mortem concluded that she died from multiple stab wounds.
Her son, 31-year-old Renars Geslers, of Hoyle Mill Road, was charged with her murder but pleaded not guilty at Sheffield Crown Court last month.
Just months later and 15-year-old Loui Phillips was stabbed to death in an unprovoked ‘jealous’ attack on Fish Dam Lane on August 8.
His 17-year-old killer, who can’t be named for legal reasons, admitted killing the youngster and will return to Sheffield Crown Court next month on December 17 for sentencing.
Despite these incidents, knife crime across South Yorkshire has decreased by 15 per cent across the county in the last year and Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “It is good news to see a reduction in the number of crimes in areas such as theft, residential burglary and knife crime and these are the areas of crime that the public often tell me they are most concerned about.
“I am particularly pleased to see the fall in knife crime because this is not often the public perception.”